Water utilities are seeing the advantage of using more Information and Communications Technology, such as smart phones, to take meter readings and report faults in the system. This is according to David Schaub-Jones, Co-Founder of SeeSaw, who spoke to us at the recent African Utility Week.
“Smart phones are helping to ensure that field workers carry out their jobs more effectively. For instance, customer information is pre-loaded onto the phone so that field workers can check whether the information is accurate or not”, explains Schaub-Jones. The phones can also help to communicate problems in the system, like water leaks, more efficiently. Faults are picked up and fixed by field workers on-site using the Smart phone.
All of this information submitted by field workers’ smart phones is compiled and analysed by SeeSaw’s meter reading software. This information is easier to use by utility management staff as raw data can be too complex to decipher.
The Smart phone offers the water utility a lower cost solution when compared to smart meters. More data is obtained without deploying a costly advanced metering infrastructure. The Smart phone can also be replaced or repaired more efficiently.
Says Schaub-Jones of the Smart phone, “If you have got systems in place and staff, rather focus on making these operate more effectively instead of replacing existing assets.”